Years ago I had a Seamanship instructor who used to say: prepare for the worst, and hope for the best. That phrase was repeated so many times that it became something of a mantra.
I still live by that phrase, because it aptly characterizes what one should do as a lawyer, and what I do to prepare for a Social Security disability hearing.
- You must prepare for the worst. That means developing the claim, and having a complete and detailed theory of the case. It means thoroughly reviewing the record prior to the hearing, and writing a hearing memorandum. It means preparing your client to testify. And it means being prepared for what the vocational expert might say.
- You must hope for the best. You just never know what happens at a Social Security disability hearing. I still get pleasantly surprised. Sometimes I have a disability claim that I am very worried about, and the judge grants the claim. Sometimes the claimant is an awesome witness. Sometimes the vocational expert inexplicably says there are no jobs. Sometimes the medical expert says that the claimant has a "multi-focal pain disorder syndrome" and has been disabled since the alleged onset date. You just never know.
It seems that the best happens more often if you have prepared for the worst. So, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.